(A Sonnet In Commemoration of Bobby Sands, M.P., who died while on hunger-strike on this day, May 5th, 1981.)
He sinks, brain addled, into his waterbed
Not moving, lest the brittle bones should crack.
Before the dawn his fading pulse shall ebb;
The eyes are sightless now, the tongue is black.
How can one embrace ideals so cherished
To permit one’s living flesh to melt away?
What chimera drives a man to perish
When England’s heartless will remains unsway’d?
Is he not a gunman whose blooded hand
Deserves him naught but death and biting scorn?
What right has such to take a martyred stand?
‘Midst nature’s sublime blossoms he’s but a thorn.
But the uncommitted fail to comprehend
How deeply august thoughts inspire some men.
Copyright © 1981, 2015 Gabriel Donohoe
(Originally written in May, 1981, when the author lived in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, a constituency represented in the U.K. Parliament by hunger-striker Bobby Sands, M.P.)